March 4, 2017 Subject:
Interesting Part of the War Effort
After the attacks at Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Los Angeles where ground forces around Los Angeles were firing hundreds of rounds at something - no one really knows - that flew over the Los Angeles - Long Beach area in the middle of the night. This Unidentified Flying Object was reported to move too slowly for a plane.
Because of these events, people on the Pacific Coast and the government were very worried about a Japanese attack on California, Oregon, or Washington and the Ground Observation Corps was created - citizens would receive training on aircraft identification and with radios, binoculars, and probably a lot of coffee, would go to isolated observation stations, often in elevated areas, and watch the skies all night long because there wasn't radar set up along the coast.
If this sounds boring, it was. It was also challenging because of things like gas rationing and a rubber shortage. If a volunteer lost a tire, they could be out of action for some time and couldn't make it to the stations. Some people had cars that used too much gas for multiple trips to the observation stations plus using their daily needs (going to work, groceries, etc.). A lot of people were dropping out of the Observation Corps, which led to the creation of Eyes Aloft. This was a way to try to keep the volunteers to keep going to the observation station year round regardless of the weather or day of the week.
Some of these episodes might have a famous person to help build morale, but often, the people featured in the episodes of Eyes Aloft were just dedicated citizens who were often sleep deprived, missing a night at home, perhaps missing part of the work day the next day, etc.
August 7, 2008 Subject:
Much, much better than you'd expect from a government training and morale program. Occasionally the propaganda is heavy handed, but mainly the writing and acting are top-notch, and there are some hidden gems of music and poetry.